Bubble Trouble: How Seattle’s Radical Left Grew and (Predictably) Got Whupped

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[Sandeep Kaushik played a strategic advisory role in the independent expenditure campaigns supporting Bruce Harrell, Sara Nelson, and Ann Davison in this election.]

Time of death for the Seattle ActiRad (activist radical) Left: 8:07 pm, Tuesday, November 2, 2021. 

The electoral tsunami that just hit Seattle politics has been building for a long time. As the current campaigns started to take shape last spring, the warning signs for Seattle’s increasingly radicalized movement left were clear. Clear, that is, unless you happen to live largely inside the perpetual, self-contained ideological circle jerk that is Left Twitter. 

Polling by the Downtown Seattle Association, conducted almost exactly one year ago, showed that only 35 percent of the city’s voters thought the city was on the right track then (those numbers are far lower by now). The City Council’s favorable rating was little better, at 37 percent favorable; 59 percent had an unfavorable view (and the council’s numbers have also continued to sink). 

Fully three-quarters of likely Seattle voters in the DSA poll agreed with the statements that unauthorized tent encampments were “getting out of control in many city parks and playgrounds,” and in “many Seattle neighborhoods.” Three out of five voters said they opposed cutting officers at SPD, and 57 percent of Seattle voters favored (after offers of shelter or housing have been made) removing homeless encampments. Only 37 percent agreed that “removing tent encampments is not an effective or humane policy and the City Council was right to stop the sweeps.”

Taken together, these numbers – along with  a slew of subsequent polls – painted a vivid, crystal-clear picture of a still progressive, but increasingly frustrated Seattle electorate. It was an electorate whose mood was souring, and who believed the status quo of Seattle politics – dominated by a movement-left City Council supermajority that had repeatedly flexed its muscles to drive City policies on homelessness and public safety in a sharply leftward direction – was not working. It was an electorate majority that disliked the endless bickering at City Hall, and blamed the council more than the mayor for the breakdown between the executive and legislative branches. And one that believed that the city’s problems were getting worse and that City Hall was more focused on endlessly regurgitating pat, wishful-thinking, left-progressive bromides than on offering any credible answers with majority support.

That electorate wanted change and fresh ideas, as opposed to the performative ideological posturing and lockstep fidelity to the Twitter Left’s dittohead groupthink. It hungered for more pragmatism, compromise, and consensus. An electorate that, with Trump and the protests of 2020 and COVID perhaps finally fading, was most of all craving a return to normalcy – a return to the city as they knew it before the cascading disruptions of 2020 – rather than salivating at the prospect of radical and untested utopian changes to core municipal institutions. 

This was all evident in the publicly available polling data. But in the ActiRad left’s increasingly inwardly focused bubble, things looked very different. The left was ascendant, they believed. The city’s politics had fundamentally shifted, they told themselves over and over. After all, hadn’t they vanquished the mighty Amazon, and swept away the power of the old downtown Establishment, with their resounding victories in the 2019 council races? Hadn’t Seattle moved even further left through the tumultuous social justice protests of 2020? Hadn’t Seattle repeatedly dictated a left activist wish list policy agenda at City Hall with only feeble resistance from a cowed and whipped business community that was increasingly irrelevant politically? Hadn’t a growing cohort of fellow travelers in the local media adopted their framing, touted their ideas, and dismissed as heartless reactionaries anyone who dared to disagree?

In other words, they committed the cardinal sin of political campaigning. They privileged their ideology and their tribal solidarity over reality, and they fell in love with their own bullshit spin. 

As a consequence, they thought the time for compromise, for half measures, was over. Instead, now was the time to double, even triple, down on the ActiRad agenda. No encampment cleanups ever, including in parks and public spaces. Continue slashing the police force even as shootings and street disorder spiked in many parts of the city. Push forward as fast as possible towards the dismantling of the criminal justice system in favor of a new model that combines radical permissiveness with therapeutic and empathetic responses to criminal behavior. Condemn the ModProg’s (“moderate progressives”) preference for incremental advances and thoughtful caution as political poison peddled by reactionary bourgeois sellouts. And demonize the business community as Progressive Left Public Enemy #1. 

Increasingly fired up by their collective rhetorical excesses and pile-ons – if you spend much time perusing the output of Left Twitter, you know that Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s nasty tweets aren’t really much of an aberration – they developed an almost hallucinatory sense of their own righteous political strength. They decided it was time to throw down the gauntlet, to force Seattle voters to make a choice, rather than muddling through. Then came this week’s election and voters made a clear choice to send ActiRadism packing.

But how did we get here? How could the Seattle movement left leave so many strongly progressive voters so far behind? 

To answer that question, here’s a short anecdote. Last week I met an old friend for a drink on Capitol Hill. He’s middle aged like me, but (unlike me) he’s still down with the man-the-barricades kidz. He was voting the straight ActiRad ticket – Lorena, Teresa, Nikkita, NTK. As we were sparring good-naturedly, I began telling him how much I loved the oversized mail pieces we ran against NTK. So simple, so noticeable, so unmistakably direct, so hard hitting. “You’ll laugh,” he responded, “but when I got that first piece, with NTK’s black bandana-covered face on the front and her ‘my rabid hatred of the police’ quote plastered over it, my initial reaction was that it was a pro-NTK mailer!”

My friend was right; I did laugh. But I also thought his “right on, sister, fuck the police!” reaction to our attack mailer was telling. It crystallized and confirmed something that had been gnawing at me for a while. Then it suddenly dawned on me. It’s not just that Seattle’s movement left has moved sharply left in the last few years, widening their divide from the ModProgs into a chasm, though that has certainly happened. It’s that the shift has been deeper than that, more fundamental, as much a foundational cultural shift as a political one. 

Seattle’s (disproportionately white) movement-left, I realized, increasingly lives inside an explicitly countercultural bubble, one that has similarities to the radical left counterculture that rose up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. (It is telling that in one of NTK’s infamous tweets she revived the long-abandoned epithet “pigs” to refer to the police.) This new counterculture explicitly rejects the traditional mainstream liberal culture that has held sway in Seattle for decades. 

It sees that traditional culture as corrupted and impure, and instead seeks to create a cosmopolitan utopian alternative, built around an entirely new set of norms and touchstones, refined and inculcated through progressive-left networks and social media safe spaces. This rising ActiRad left counterculture weaves together a number of ideological threads, including a full-throated embrace of tribal us-vs.-them hyperpolarization, ideological anti-racism, uncompromising urbanism (verging towards urban chauvinism), collectivist anti-liberalism (particularly opposing liberalism’s emphasis on individual autonomy), gender fluidity and root-and-branch anti-capitalism. It forms its own worldview. 

That’s why my friend could (briefly) mistake our anti-NTK mail as a positive. He’s largely living in a separatist cultural world where expressing “rabid hatred for the police” isn’t a negative. It’s not even particularly noteworthy. I mean, doesn’t everybody hate the cops? Doesn’t everyone believe that policing, and the courts, are irredeemably racist? 

Hey, it’s a free country. If the left wants to live in its own cultural world, fine by me. But the political problem of retreating into this sort of separatist bubble is that when you’re living inside it, it becomes really hard to understand and connect with the worldview of cultural traditionalists, even when they are ideologically very progressive. 

That’s what really happened to the Actirad left in this election. That is how they so spectacularly misread the mood of the electorate. 

In mid-July, a few weeks before the primary, I predicted in a Facebook post that if the left lined up behind Lorena Gonzalez – who was, it seemed obvious to me, a much weaker general election candidate than either Jessyn Farrell or Colleen Echohawk, runners-up in the mayoral primary – Bruce Harrell would win by a 55-45 margin. I was met with a slew of responses from Seattle left activist friends telling me I was clueless and crazy, that I didn’t understand how profoundly Seattle had changed since 2017, and that progressive voters were now fully on board with a transformational ActiRad agenda. Let’s revisit this conversation after the general election results, I replied. 

Now for a few further observations about the implications of Tuesday’s election results:

Whither the City Council? Even with Nelson’s victory, replacing Lorena Gonzalez on the City Council, that body retains a left majority. Will these election results matter on the inside of municipal politics? Will it sink in that, as they’ve pushed the City’s policies farther and farther towards ActiRad extremism, their approval ratings have commensurately plunged into the truly abysmal mid-to-upper 20s? Will they recalibrate? Will they try to reconnect with their culturally traditional ModProg constituents?

Maybe. 

It has become evident in recent years that the incentive and reward structure for left lane councilmembers is entirely geared towards pleasing the constellation of the powerful interest groups that comprise the backbone of Seattle’s movement-left, even when doing so is at odds with what those councilmembers’ own constituents want. (It’s noteworthy that just 24 hours before this election Councilmember Lisa Herbold endorsed NTK, even as her own constituents were decisively rejecting NTK’s abolitionist extremism).

If the ModProg voters of District 3 recall Councilmember Sawant on December 7 (which seems to me to now be a better than 50/50 proposition), it would, from a purely political perspective, behoove some of the seven councilmembers up for reelection in two years to back off the ActiRad agenda. This is true as well of the long and growing list of once-mainstream ModProg groups in Seattle, who in this election went full ActiRad, even as substantial majorities of culturally traditional Seattle voters were rejecting that call for radical transformation. 

Hey, Legacy Media, Your Bias Is Showing. In recent years I’ve watched the erosion of traditional norms of objectivity within significant segments of the local media. Nowadays, many reporters and outlets routinely privilege ActiRad voices, ideas, and framing. For instance, every encampment cleanup, no matter how many times services and shelter have been offered, is “a sweep.” Anyone who opposes ActiRad orthodoxy is a “conservative.” And these media outlets ignore or downplay stories that raise questions about Seattle’s activist-left. (I should note that on the tv news side, some of the coverage has moved in the opposite direction). One professional, ostensibly objective news organization did an entire story on “abolition” without talking to a single person who opposes it. WTF?

The range of public opinion in Seattle on issues like homelessness and policing is particularly true in communities of color in Seattle. Too many news outlets seem to only talk to radicalized activists, presenting their views as representative of communities of color, when there are clear indications that most POC in Seattle are more opposed to ActiRad demands like “defunding the police” or “stop the sweeps” than white voters in Seattle are. One thought — perhaps the media should spend more time talking to POC, rather than to those who claim to speak for them.

Is Abolition in Seattle Politically Dead? No issue demonstrates the Seattle movement left’s shift into countercultural ActiRadism than its lightning quick embrace of radical abolitionist sentiments. The idea of moving decisively towards abolishing the police, the courts and the criminal justice system was a far-fringe idea less than two years ago. Now, in the wake of last year’s protests, it stood at the center of the current election, with two self-proclaimed radical abolitionists on the ballot, Nikkita Oliver running for the open council seat and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy running for City Attorney. Mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez, who is abolition-adjacent in her politics, declined to rule out cutting the Seattle Police budget by 50 percent in this campaign.

The Seattle left’s full-frontal maximalist embrace of these ideas – despite some furious late election backpedaling, particularly from Thomas-Kennedy — was evident in both NTK’s and Oliver’s repeated endorsement of radical moves to defund police and sharply reduce misdemeanor prosecutions immediately. This embrace came just as public sentiment nationally has turned decisively against defunding the police, as this Pew Research Poll released last week made clear. With visible street crime in downtown impossible to miss, and shootings spiking across the city, the same rejection of de-policing has now come true in Seattle’s wipeout election.

Look at the messages in the ads we ran against the ActiRad slate. “We can’t use our parks, we don’t feel safe” (Harrell). Oliver has endorsed cutting 320 more cops in the 2022 budget, and eliminating half of municipal court judges and the half of the criminal division of the City Attorney’s office (Nelson). NTK has pledged to immediately halt the prosecution of most misdemeanor crimes (Davison). 

Those messages resonated with culturally mainstream progressive Seattle voters, who don’t think that expecting some baseline level of accountability from people is racist or heartless. So, I wonder, will the left now bury abolition as a political issue, or will they allow it to carry on as some sort of undead rotting zombie carcass, consuming the flesh of left lane council candidates in upcoming elections? Stay tuned.

The Stranger Is Now a Three-Time Loser. The primary results proved, decisively to this former Stranger reporter, that the Stranger still has the following to pick the left lane candidates out of the primary. Unfortunately for the left, that’s a huge problem, because the kidz at the Stranger love the sort of divisive, ideological-warrior candidates who appeal to young, hyperpolarized radicals but who fare poorly with less polarized general election voters. 

This year, though, was supposed to be different. The Stranger’s leadership openly admitted that, after their chosen candidates had lost the last two mayoral contests, they wanted to pick the most electable left lane candidates this time. Instead, they filtered their electability calculus through the prism of ActiRad zealotry, with disastrous (for them) results. 

They picked the most ideologically combative (and therefore weakest) credible mayoral candidate, Lorena Gonzalez, over candidates like Colleen Echohawk and Jessyn Farrell, who had embraced a much more broadly acceptable “I know how to bring people together and speak across divides” vibe, and who could also credibly run as City Hall outsiders at a time when voters were fed up with the status quo. 

They effectively elected Republican Ann Davison the day they passed over incumbent, strongly left City Attorney Pete Holmes in favor of abolitionist-extremist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. In the open council seat, they could have picked the experienced and potentially electable Brianna Thomas, a strong progressive, but instead went full ActiRad with Nikkita Oliver. Seems to me the Stranger has become the Pied Piper of the Seattle left, leading their radicalized readership by their nose rings to their electoral doom.

My Side Needs to Not Get too Full of Ourselves. One of the lessons we can take from this election is that Seattle’s movement-left way overread the results of the 2019 council races. Their big wins that year weren’t a validation of their ideological purism. It was just that at the last minute the voters were pissed off by the distorting power of excessive corporate money, especially from Amazon, in our elections. By misreading that result, they became politically arrogant and uncompromising, and tonight they paid the electoral price. 

There‘s a lesson to be learned by the ModProg center. The reality for my side is that Seattle voters remain very, very progressive, and if we try to jam our agenda without making a good faith effort to bring the other side along we’ll eventually meet the same electoral fate. Bottom line: neither side of Seattle’s yawning political divide has the power to run roughshod over the other. So we face a choice: either we can retreat into our respective bunkers and continue the ideological trench warfare stalemate of the last two years, or we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again and make reasonable compromises on the big issues and problems that plague our city. It worked for the $15 minimum wage agreement. It worked for HALA. 

Has the city’s politics changed so much that that sort of compromise is no longer possible? Voters just answered that question with a resounding No.

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Sandeep Kaushik is a political and public affairs consultant in Seattle. In a previous life, he was a staff writer and political columnist at the Stranger, and did a stint as a Washington State correspondent for Time Magazine and for the Boston Globe, back in the olden days when such positions still existed.

33 COMMENTS

  1. You nailed it here: “full-throated embrace of tribal us-vs.-them hyperpolarization”. A page from the Trump playbook.
    And here: “perhaps the media should spend more time talking to POC, rather than to those who claim to speak for them.” It isn’t just the media making this error that illustrates that racism is still very much with us.
    These methods help keep the choir small, finely tuned maybe, but small.

  2. Did this tsunami result more from crazies on the left waking up to the consequences of their policies or from grown-ups getting fed up with the status quo and deciding to vote?

  3. Great analysis and hits on many of the trends we see both locally and nationally emerging. One thing you didn’t bring up that I wonder about is the influence of Urbanism on city politics as well. For a while now all we have heard is we have to maximize density and any opposition to that plan was either racist or NIMBY. This unfettered growth (in my opinion) has fueled a lot of the issues we see in the city. Both Harrell and Nelson ran on thoughtful growth and maintaining some areas of the city as SFZ. I hope we can also see a return to a rational discussion on growth and what realistically the city can absorb.

  4. This piece is just more neoliberal ignorance and arrogance blather, so out of touch with reality in the City, Bioregion and 21st C.! Delusional BS!!!

  5. Perhaps the “normal people” have simply had enough. We follow the law, attempt to raise respectful future citizens, pay our taxes, and volunteer to make this a nice place to live. It was, before the “Progressive” movement drew hoards of leftist-minded folks to Seattle and Portland. Have you driven through Portland lately? It is a disgrace. It makes Seattle look clean and well kept.

    What is sad is that these poputchiks; that you so accurately described, don’t want to make anything better. They just want to tear down and destroy like all good followers of Marx and his crackpot theories that led to the death and suffering of over 100M people in the 20th century. “But this time it will be different!” Ask yourself why all of the Eastern European immigrants that grew up under such utopian fantasies are not advocates for these policies? They lived through the outcome and they couldn’t get away fast enough.

    The issue plaguing America right now is that those who are hard left or right ideologically, are incapable of looking at policies or programs that aren’t working and admitting, perhaps I’m wrong? Maybe there is another way? Maybe my confirmation biases blinded me to some factors that are part of the problem I’m trying to solve? That historically was not Seattle politics when you look at actual leaders such as Rice and Royer.

    The “war on homelessness” in Seattle has only made it worse. The people these programs claim to support are not homeless because they can’t find work, it is because they are drug addicts. And the majority of them ARE NOT from this area. They came here because of the programs that were established out of honest sympathy without at the same time holding people responsible for their actions. They made a choice at some point and they are living the result of the choice. Unfortunately the poputchiks want us all to suffer with them, which in the end is what collectivism dictates so it isn’t a surprise.

    Hopefully Bruce, Ann, and Sarah will help turn the tide back towards civility and consequences for those that work to undermine it. Kicking Sawant off the council wouldn’t hurt either.

  6. Next article to write, Sandeep, is the potential fall-out of funding and support to the enviro groups, the Democratic Party, and other entities that went full Acti-Rad.

    And also, let’s talk about those utter losers, Pramila Jayapal and Bernie Sanders, whose endorsements of the Leftists went nowhere.

  7. Trump started this run for the wing movement and the internet threw gas on it. Looks like democrats might finally stop trying to out-liberal each other. Seattle – left but smart again thank god!

  8. I’m not a leftist out of some ideological utopian promise in my head. I don’t have nose rings, vibrant hair, and I’m not addicted to drugs, the usual jabs leftists get. In fact I decided to completely drop booze in June 2020 and I’m almost 17mos sober now. I graduated Summa cum Laude from WSU in 2015, a year late, as my health problems started in college. I’m not exactly thrilled with the woke leftist extremes this cycle, but I vote for them because I’m on the verge of being homeless. I’m not kidding.

    I have severe pain in my jaw, shoulders, and back, along with gait issues from a rare condition called CRPS which makes it hard for me to hold down a job between medical appts, severe pain that they don’t prescribe painkillers for anymore, that did allow me to work. That’s why I turned to drinking for a few years but gave it up because it was awful.

    I’m 29yrs old, and it feels like my life is fucking over with these medical issues. I don’t need your pity. I need someone to help me, and that’s so hard for me to admit, I’m very independent. Always the type to get awesome grades, do well at work. The possibility is strong that I might be homeless after my lease is up March 31st. SSI only pays about $800/mo, that’s not enough for anywhere. I’ve called the housing 211 number. I’m on 5-7yr waitlists for housing. Whenever another section 8 voucher lottery opens up (the last one was 2017 fyi) I’ll be there. My family can’t afford to finance me anymore and they feel awful. I can’t go back to Spokane because they kept saying they can’t treat me, and to go to Seattle. So here I am.

    Your assumption that all the homeless are addicts first, is wrong. I’ve talked with a few people in camps, actually trying to make inroads on the street in case the time comes where I am homeless. Hopefully I’ll at least be able to but a car. Will I turn to drugs once I’m on the street idk, but that’s how a lot people told me they ended up on them, from being homeless in the first place. Some yes we’re always addicts. And yes, many are from out of town. Many have admitted to crimes. Some I even think should be in jail. But they’re completely broken souls you’re demonizing.

    I want to know what Bruce Harrell, is going to do for someone like me? What a Republican in the City Attorneys office is going to do for me? Seriously I’m asking. I’ve done everything I think of. I didn’t think Lorena could do much to help me either, but maybe eventually there would be more subsidized affordable housing, more section 8 vouchers so I can live independently and not me in a horrific medical facility for the poor. Those were my issues.

    I stand with the so called “altrad” because stories like mine are more common there. There’s a cultural divide because most people can’t digest stories like mine. The left can’t get everything done in 2yrs btw. I was trying to give them a chance because jfc, the DT businesses and yes Amazon don’t even want to pay the Jumpstart tax! Like they can’t afford it, that’s a crock of BS. We’re not stupid.

    I hate the word victim, don’t call me that. I’m not a victim of the status quo. I’m a person with a lot of hardships that is asking, where do I go for help in this status quo, I’m at the end of my rope? I need the medical Seattle has, Portland is only marginally cheaper, same with Spokane, where I grew up and they told me they couldn’t help me medically, go to Seattle. But I’m getting priced out. No one I’ve met wants someone disabled as a roommate, there’s always someone better than me. I don’t want to live in a medical facility, the things I’ve seen in those, the ones that serve the poor are terrible. Living in a car would be better, and don’t say I’m refusing shelter, I’ve seen horrific abuse in medical homes. I’m getting treatments, but it’s slow, so what do I do? I’m tired of the god damn back and forth between moderates and progressives, just fucking DO something please! I feel like I’ve walked my halfway forward in life, trying to meet it at each challenge it presents. But the truth of the matter is, I need someone or something to meet me half way, but it isn’t there.

    Do not pity me, DO something. Maybe I’m missing something? I hope I am. I would be so happy if I’m missing something and I don’t have to be homeless. First city hall there is, virtually or in person I’m there asking. I can confirm every detail of my damn sob story, my medical records, my college education, my finances. Everything, if anyone wants to meet me to confirm. ButI’m doubt that. I doubt anyone will put in the time to read this, but they will the article above. I’m tired of the name calling, the self-righteousness on both sides. This coming from a different Seattle constituent than you’re used to. I’m sure I’ll be met with silence, or even hate as usual though.

    • Why not go back and live with your family in Spokane or is that too “not cool”? Some excellent health care in that city, draws patients from all over.

        • No, it was not addressed clearly. CRPS is a syndrome, poorly defined, that may have multiple components to it. It is simply not credible that quality care is not available in Spokane. Spokane is a sophisticated tertiary care medical center environment, with many fine doctors. The issues that the writer speaks of are of the sort that is not really in the domain of a city to solve. If she is disabled as represented, she is eligible for SSI and other benefits. Yes they may be scant and take time to obtain, but they are there. And moving where the cost of living is less, is a wise decision. I feel for Katy but have no delusions that the defeated candidates would do a better job on her behalf given the failures to date and degredation of our city in the past decade or so. Perhaps with a new regime that will hold to account those ruining our city, there may be more resources and mental energy available for the Katys among us.

    • Katy,
      First, I’m sorry to hear about your challenges. I hope you find the treatment you need in Seattle and you can reclaim your life. I wish there were alternatives for people in your situation but the cold, hard truth is that housing is a limited resource and there is no way the city can accommodate everyone. Even if Seattle were to build 10,000 “affordable” units tomorrow the demand for those units would well surpass the supply. I find it sad that you think your only alternative is to live in your car or in a tent. You should continue your search for a roommate but if you are unable to find one in time I don’t understand why you wouldn’t locate outside the city to find lower rent and commute in for work or your medical appointments. Certainly that is a better option than living in your car. I wish you the best of luck with your search and your challenges. There are alternatives and there is no reason you should have to live on the street.

    • There is no answer anywhere on the political spectrum. Actirad, modprog, whatever … To effectively address problems in a way that meets our society’s standards, we need competent management. That means rigorous analysis that doesn’t fall into holes like the elephant vs. blind men example of people are homeless because ___. (Many issues here, and simple answers mean failure.) It means accountable programs (massive and maybe even deliberate failure of the past couple of council terms.) It means facing up to the difficulties and costs (hard one for already burdened taxpayers.) It means looking at real causes and what “success” really means for Seattle (unsustainable growth? makes no sense to me.) None of this really comes out of the political spectrum.

    • Katy, thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful reply. I hope that everyone who reads the main article will find their way to your comment. There is such truth to what you write, and I think that you’re correct that neither of the major political factions in town has been adequately focused on *actually helping* people in your situation. I don’t have any advice for you—but I can tell that you are intelligent and thoughtful, with critical thinking skills. Your voice is definitely needed in these conversations, and I believe (perhaps optimistically) that if you continue showing up and expressing your voice in public, then a solution to your housing crisis will eventually materialize. Just keep talking to people and creating that personal network, and telling your story. People need to hear it.

    • I had a recent, scary experience with chronic fatigue and cognitive problems that lasted for five months, during which I couldn’t work full-time. I have a spouse who can support us both, but it was horrifying to realize that there’s so little help for those who can’t work and can’t fall back on family.

      I don’t think the so-called ActiRad candidates were the answer, though–as you note, Gonzales wasn’t going to provide housing for everyone who needs it anytime soon, since it’s extremely slow and expensive to build public housing, and Harrell is planning on adding housing. I think a better safety net needs to be created at the national level, and to do that, middle-of-the-road voters nationwide need to be convinced that progressive solutions aren’t scary and will be implemented by competent people. The activists here in Seattle are doing the opposite of that.

      If you aren’t doing it already, I hope that you’re involved with online groups of people who have your same health issue. This can be a good source of support and information. Of course there’s a lot of both bad and good information on the internet, but I was able to find a treatment that worked for me (turned out part of my issue was caused by a misaligned neck vertebra). I hope you can find something to help.

    • I can help suggest some roommate resources for likeminded people. Email me or message @xaotica on the usual social sites – except @xaotica_tiktok cuz someone took my name there 😉

  9. You don’t understand.
    The good citizens of Seattle won’t stop until those who wielded political violence have no home in Seattle politics.

    You’re just now looking at this situation critically?
    Pander if you want.
    It’s just exacerbating the situation.

  10. I’ve been wondering why the voters of Seattle were so butthurt in 2019 about Amazon types dropping a mil on council races. First of all, $1m between 7 races isn’t that much money (people here seem overly impressed by not-large numbers). Secondly, none of those candidates asked to be the “candidate of Amazon”. Indeed, as liberal Dems, they were horrified to be painted as such. But the backlash worked, and people elected the other candidates. It has always seemed to me the very dumbest argument to say, I’m going to vote against X because Y is supporting him/her. Y probably made the choice as the lesser of two evils from his perspective. And anyway, it shouldn’t matter. Pure spite and a knee-jerk reaction. Voters should have keep the actual candidates and their positions more in mind.

  11. While it is good to see someone within the Democrat establishment finally being critical of the extremist who rule Seattle, the real question is, “What took you so long?”

    While extremist were attempting to kill police officers in the East Precinct and were randomly destroying small businesses, Sandeep and other members of the Democrat establishment were quiet. When the Seattle City Council and Democrat legislators were caving into the radical demands of those who committed political violence by making our city and state a safer place to be a criminal, there were no lengthy articles from Democrat insiders attacking the radical positions of the extremist.

    While Sandeep complains of the bubble the extremist live in, it must be realized the local Democrat establishment helped to create and enable that bubble by refusing to condemn their actions while they were taking place.

    Not one Democrat legislator, statewide official, member of congress or U.S. Senator who represents Washington residents has condemned the political violence conducted by liberal activists in 2020 (Compare that to Republican officials response to January 6th – all three GOP congressional members from Washington, nearly all Republican members of the legislature, and even the Chair of the Washington State Republican Party condemned the violent actions of Trump supporters AS IT WAS TAKING PLACE).

    Republicans showed courage in standing up to the extremist within their party while Democrats caved into the demands of their violent extremist.

    Moderates across the state realize this and polls are showing Democrats in swing districts are in deep trouble for not standing up to their extremist. (Why do you think the Democrat members of the state’s redistricting commission are so afraid of swing districts and want to make more districts safe for incumbent Democrats – they know swing districts will all go Republican in 2022.)

    One article is not going to wipe away all of the Democrats failures. 2022 will likely be a major referendum on the Democrats unwillingness to fight back against their radicals.

    • You mean like the republicans standing up to Donald Trump? That said, most people in Seattle are exhausted from the daily crime. The extremists on the city council have done such a poor job that is it any real surprise they gave money to a homeless service provider that has pilfered almost a million dollars. Lisa Herbold knew about and waited till after the election to announce it. Now the council wants to decrease police funding in spite of the election showing voters want a change of course. The next election can’t get here soon enough. Would the Democratic Party please find some competent moderate candidates to make a clean sweep of the nuts in charge?

  12. There’s lots of good stuff in the article for consideration.

    I take issue with the notion that editorial endorsements are supposed to predict winners. I want to read endorsements based on rational/logical policy thought. Moreover, losing candidates don’t necessarily have the wrong ideas. Sometimes the timing, context, and deliver are wrong or inadequate. There’s no shortage of ‘correct’ ideas that lose multiple times but eventually win at the ballot and take permanent root.

  13. I read about the defeat of Q-Anon candidates in Sequim and thought how similar their results were to ours in Seattle — left and right, we don’t want ideologues with reality filters running our governments. This year I sense a strong desire for common sense and competence.

  14. Six days after the election, all of these totals have tightened, with today’s margins for Harrell/Nelson/Davison much more modest than on Election Night. The highest margin of victory? Teresa Mosqueda, with almost 60%. So, who really knows right?

  15. Wow! What a terribly researched article.

    Both of the surveys you used to indicate irrefutable Seattle opinion – the Downtown Seattle Association and KOMO poll by Strategies 360 – had a majority of survey respondents that were home owners. Census data shows that the majority of Seattle residents are renters. There’s a clear financial distinction between those who can afford to buy a home with the astronomical housing prices of this city and those who cannot.

    Your primary data sets also oversample white people. According to Census data, Seattle’s population is 67% white. White people represented 75% and 73%, respectively, of their survey respondents. Be cautious when you’re making bold claims using THIS DATA that “..there are clear indications that most POC in Seattle are more opposed to ActiRad demands like “defunding the police” or “stop the sweeps” than white voters in Seattle are. One thought — perhaps the media should spend more time talking to POC, rather than to those who claim to speak for them.” I would make that exact same recommendation to you. If you weren’t being so dangerously misleading, I would be embarrassed for your level of journalistic integrity (or blatant lack of).

    We know for a fact that race has a huge impact on people’s experiences on the exact things you’re talking about — namely policing. You’re making aggressive claims to know how the majority of Seattle feels when you’re using data that is non-representative and is disproportionately favoring white, wealthy or well off, home owners.

    You’re also talking about homeless folks choosing to be victims of sweeps over choosing to be sheltered – that’s so wildly inaccurate it’s hard to type. There are not nearly enough shelter beds or other housing options for the number of people who are homeless. People are regularly turned away from shelters that are at capacity. So their real option is to move from an area they have deemed as safe and survivable to — well nobody really cares what’s next. Just get out of the park, you’re blocking my view of Greenlake.

    In my opinion, part of what is causing a divide between moderate status quo democrats such as yourself and those who are further left is this kind of patronizing and sensationalizing of common sense ideas and basic empathy as “radical.” Instead of diving into an extremely nuanced conversation about what it could look like to stop using police as a first line of response to mental health, homelessness, and everything else that takes more support than a baton to address, actually addressing the complex community needs that would help prevent crime in the first place, and not using fines to enforce laws that functionally only police poor people because those with means are able to pay their way out of trouble, this is the kind of response you want to lead with. Data that oversamples white homeowners that you use to make misleading claims about how the “majority” of people of color feel, patronizing and belittling language, and no real solutions to any of the problems you used to make your argument.

    You’re aggressively shutting down the opportunity for more nuanced conversations — exactly what you claim to despise. And being so incredibly misleading along the way. What a horrible example of journalism.

    • Sorry to be kind of late to the party here, but …

      1. Using THIS DATA to back up claims that POC aren’t so into defunding, is fine, because that’s what they found. From the DSA analysis: “More voters of color (67%) are opposed than white voters (58%).” Not because the whole poll responder population had the right percentages, but because they counted their responses by category.

      2. There might be a clear financial distinction between those who can afford to buy a home and those who can’t, but many homeowners are in the second category and many renters are in the first.

      3. I don’t find anything in the article about “homeless folks choosing” (anything.) Maybe that’s why it was hard to type?

      4. The onus for clearly explaining proposed systemic changes in public safety etc., is clearly with the people who propose them, but that seems to be asking too much. It’s apparently bad faith to treat terms like “defund” and “abolish” as though they mean what they mean in the dictionary, and the council majority has been steering what looks like a pretty haphazard course through that landscape. A claim to empathy doesn’t compel us to “dive into an extremely nuanced conversation” with people who’ve been tweeting like Thomas-Kennedy instead of setting out their extremely nuanced positions.

    • It’s easy to say that until the policies allow a criminal to openly kick and kill your little dog because you…. a senior citizen isn’t willing to freely open his wallet to them. You are allowing criminals to act however they want. As long as the excuse is it’s cultural… fine. They were born poor and disadvantaged… That’s horseshit. Actions speak louder than words. Everyone should be accountable for their actions. People do evil and bad things and when they do I sure hope I don’t have to wait an hour for the police to show up because Teresa Mosequeda has decided to cut the police budget another 10 million . Crime is exploding and the city council has decided that we need LESS POLICE? Bruce Harrell has a tough job already. Maybe he shouldn’t push too much and the city could get more fucked up thereby causing more issues for the rest of the council to get voted out in the next election. Hopefully that’s not the case because there are many people that depend on the jobs from businesses that may close because of the city council policies. A year or two to those businesses could end them. I hope that’s not the case.

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